The subject is regularly in the news and may decide the
next national elections – the infamous jobless recovery.
More than 8 million Americans are out of work with another 4
million underemployed or no longer looking for work. Good
manufacturing, technical and sets jobs are being shipped
to India, Asia, and other developing countries. The mood of
the middle and working class becomes more pessimistic, the
outlook for their immediate future more grim.
Politicians argue solutions: abrogating current trade
treaties, providing protection for various industries,
investment in retraining programs, wishful thinking that
lower taxes will turn everything around, the potential of a
labor shortage within 15 years.
Meanwhile, the population grows, demanding the creation of
150,000 new jobs per month just to stay already. Where are the
more than 2 million 2004 jobs promised by the Council of
They will come when the government truly invests in the
social and financial welfare of the working public.
Historically, the U.S. has looked at employment only in
times of crisis – recession or upsetting unemployment
figures. instead of “quick fixes,” we need a national long-
range policy on employment which addresses the issue, in
good times and bad, with consistent interest, examination, and
Here are seven proposals:
1. Create a National Office of Employment to develop long
term strategies and oversight of the U.S. labor market in
order to track trends, analyze data, research emerging
problems, and prepare early interventions.
2. clarify growing and possible industries and the skills
they will need in future staff.
3. Design a plan which allows for the rapid retargeting of
training courses as Community Colleges and vocational
schools are traditionally 5 to 15 years behind current
4. Provide substantial tax incentives for businesses to hire
in the U.S. instead of shipping their jobs to low income
5. Devise “red-tape-less” programs to reward employers with
meaningful tax credits for hiring the long-term employed
and new trainees.
6. Overhaul the processes of State Unemployment Offices by
implementing coordinated sustain programs in which workers
participate as part of receiving unemployment benefits and
employers participate as a method of meeting their future
needs for staff.
7. Provide incentives for employers to hire more part-time
workers. Simultaneously, America must reframe its social
policy to promote a new work ethic of reduced work hours,
along with increased leisure and volunteer activities, to
allow more workers to be employed, albeit for fewer hours.
Due to the negative emotional effects of living without
work, our society needs to stress high employment rather
than high productivity which often translates into fewer
workers, working harder and longer.